The Jew News Review – February 4, 2023 – It is Balloon!

Shabbat shalom everyone! Oy! What a week! It’s colder than a penguin’s petzl out there, but not colder than a Republican’s heart, so dress accordingly. And if you do venture into this arctic chill, bring binoculars and check out the Chinese “research” balloon making its way across the US of A! The pentagon just released this image of what appears to be the beginnings of a huge diplomatic kerfuffle in the making:

Pentagon released this image of the Chinese spy balloon as it crossed over Montana. Up, up, and stay away!

I couldn’t help but reflect on the old F Troop episode, hence the clip above. By today’s standards, F Troop would likely be cancelled by the Woke police, despite their depiction of the Indians being wiser and more competent than their comical, but friendly white soldier friends of F Troop. Funny stuff regardless, and I recommend you younger ones checking out the show on TV Land or other retro stations. 

It was Ground Hog day this week, and the Republican clown show in the House led by Kevin McCarthy continues to show us re-runs of why they should never be allowed near the levers of power ever again. You may disagree with the big spending democrats and the level of debt we continue to pile on our grandchildren, but at least they try and solve problems instead of creating chaos. Which leads me to my next topic, Fauda. Chaos, or in Arabic, Fauda, is the name of a popular Israeli TV series which has gone viral around the globe. Sandy and I just binged the 4th season, and it was another fantastic, exciting and dramatic season! Two thumbs up! (Except perhaps for the ending, which was a bit over the top)

So, a big shout out to Noah Stollman, one of the lead writers on the show, and brother to JNR subscriber, Seth Stollman! Seth was kind enough to introduce us to Noah when he was here visiting a few years ago, and we have been huge fans before and ever since. If you haven’t watched the show, we highly recommend you do. It’s about a group of Israeli special ops who go undercover to perform amazing rescues or other operations, but it is also more about the foibles and families of the team. Well written, and well acted, one of the leads on the show is also the creator, Lior Raz, who prior to becoming a famous actor, was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body guard. 

What is even more fascinating about the show is that it has become something of a guilty pleasure among viewers in the Arab world. We’re talking Netflix’s most viewed show in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, second most viewed show in Qatar, third in Jordan, fifth in Turkey, sixth in Morocco and eighth in Saudi Arabia. And the number one show in Italy and other countries!

That’s all well and good on the Israeli cultural front. But, the number one issue in Israel continues to be the existential threat posed, not by the all the recent unrest in Jenin and the West Bank, but by the conservative coalition itself, looking to cripple the ability of the Supreme Court to overturn rulings by the Knesset. Nut-and-yahoo, who has not had a single interview with any Israeli media since being elected, has decided to go on a PR campaign to soft sell his efforts to turn Israel into another Hungary or Turkey to audiences in the US and anywhere but Israel. He appeared recently on CNN with Jake Tapper, misleading viewers into believing that what they are trying to do is nothing different than what is done in Canada or the UK parliaments. Such bullshit ignores the fact that Canada and the UK have bi-cameral parliament, and constitutions, both of which have a built in check on the powers of the executive. He also said that currently their justices are “self appointed”, which is a bold faced lie since justices in Israel are appointed by a 7 person committee made up of 3 current judges, 4 politicians, and 2 lawyers. Behavioral Economist, and recent Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman, described the reform as “the worst threat to Israel’s existence to date”. Nut-and-yahoo is pushing for a fast track on the legislation currently targeted to be voted on by the end of February. Yikes! Not much we can do except get our legislators and Jewish leaders to exert international pressure on them to modify their position. 

I know what you are thinking. When is he going to get to the good stuff! Where are all those carefully curated stories from The Forward, Times of Israel, Kveller, Jewish Boston, Israel 21c, and other fine Jewie journals? Well, your wait is over. Here you go:

  1. The Michelin Guide is coming to Israel: What took so long? (And here I thought the great Jewish cook books were in the Humor section of the book store!) Israeli chefs have been dominating the food world recently. Yotam Ottolenghi’s best-selling cookbooks, Plenty and Plenty More, full of Middle-Eastern influenced fare, are ubiquitous. Michael Solomonov’s Israeli Soul and Zahav cookbooks are nearly as hard to escape, and his Philadelphia restaurant won a James Beard Award. Israeli chefs run acclaimed restaurants across Europe and have served as celebrity judges on cooking shows. But eateries in Israel weren’t eligible for the most sought after of those accolades: the Michelin star. That’s all going to change, according to Israel’s tourism minister Haim Katz, who said in a statement that Michelin will begin evaluating Tel Aviv restaurants. For more, click here.
  2. Rep. Omar co-sponsors Israel resolution as GOP majority votes to remove her from House committee – Omar has indeed been critical of Israel, as have many regarding the plight of Palestinians. But this act of revenge by McCarthy and his sycophants goes beyond the pale. The House voted Thursday along party lines to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over her criticism of Israel and past comments that were perceived as antisemitic. The resolution, introduced by Jewish Republican freshman Max Miller from Ohio, making good on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s pledge to remove Omar from the prestigious panel, passed 218-211.  The resolution cited Omar’s past comments critiquing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that were perceived as antisemitic, and several statements she made lambasting Israel in 2021.  At the same time, Omar added her name to a Democratic-led House resolution that recognizes Israel “as America’s legitimate and democratic ally” and that condemns antisemitism. Click here for more.
  3. Kiss frontman Simmons wants to rock Holocaust memorials with Never Again concert – Music icon, whose mother survived Nazi death camps, says at ‘boring’ UN commemoration that Jewish community needs to get more groups involved in remembrance activities. Simmons’s mother survived the Nazi death camps as a teenager, then moved to Israel after the war. Born Chaim Weitz in the northern city of Haifa, Simmons moved to the US as a boy, identifies as Israeli and remains involved in pro-Israel advocacy. “Nobody wants to be preached at so if you have Holocaust remembrance events, concerts, music, a ‘Never again’ music festival — great idea — where people of all nationalities, all creeds, all religions, all skin tones get together,” he said. “You buy a ticket, it goes to charities and of course Yad Vashem and other organizations to try to stop this hatred.”“We should have U2 up there, people that mean something,” he said. “Who says it is much more important than what they’re saying.” Now I would buy a ticket to that concert! Click here for more.
  4. Minnesota synagogue builds an ice rink — and inaugurates it with a klezmer skate – Look out Brian Boitano and Nancy Kerrigan, here come the next generation of Olympic Jewish figure skaters! JTA — A forecasted low of -16 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 Celsius) in the Twin Cities on Thursday had the stage set perfectly for two frozen Jewish firsts — a Klezmer on Ice festival and a synagogue-run skating rink. Temple of Aaron, a Conservative congregation of about 700 families, is inviting families to bundle up and have fun on what Rubenstein believes is the first-ever skating rink on a synagogue property. The rink, which can accommodate about 30 people at a time, was built by congregant Joel Paper and is being maintained by “Ice Captains” — synagogue members who clear it of snow and shovel off any extra ice that forms. Click here for more.
  5. Ready to run for president, Nikki Haley is a star in the pro-Israel community – Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, announced that she will join former President Donald Trump in the 2024 race for the Republican presidential nomination. Haley was a staunch advocate for Israel during her two-year tenure at the U.N., where she blocked the appointment of Salam Fayyad, a former Palestinian prime minister, as a U.N. envoy to Libya, and spearheaded the U.S. withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council, a group that has been highly critical of Israel. She also hosted a reception for the 60-some nations that did not vote for a resolution condemning Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. She is looking like a legitimate contender and maybe a more rational Republican?

That’s enough already! I need to get my binoculars and check for any Chinese balloons floating over Sharon. I am pretty sure there is a TikTok logo on the damn thing somewhere!

Let’s be careful out there, stay warm and don’t let your petzls freeze!

Brad out.

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